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Hacks - Tips - Lessons: How to Improve Your Life and the Lives of Others

Teacher teaching student

by Michael Corthell

What if you could go back and tell your 12-year-old self about the secrets to a happy and fulfilling life?

What if you had heard, understood, and accepted the most important life lessons when you were still a teenager?  I've collected most of them here.

1. Have Faith 

2. Be grateful for everything, despite your suffering.

3. Always remember that what you don't know is much more important than what you know now.

4. Don't stay in a career that you hate.

5. Always behave so that it's easy to tell the truth about how you acted.

6. Always believe that the person you are with might know something you need to know.

7. Be mindful. That means Pay ATTENTION.

8. When you choose, be the one who does things, instead of the one who watches things.

9. Grab what is meaningful in life and hold on to it.

10. Be honest, tell the truth.

11. Seek to always improve things, make things better everywhere you go.

12. Guard who you share bad news with.

13. Guard who you share good news with.

14. Always work hard to maintain romantic freshness in your relationship.

15. Picture who you want to be, and go for it with unshakable, burning desire.

16. Never be arrogant or resentful.

17. Make one room in your house as beautiful as possible (and then another).

18. Compare who you were yesterday, with who you are today.

19. Learn everything about one thing and see what happens.

20. If you have regrets that make you cry, write them down on paper and throw the paper away.

21. Keep in touch with people. It's worth it.

22. Always respect people's lifestyles.

23. Always respect artistic achievement and creativity.

24. Care for yourself as you would care for another.

25. Care for others as you would care for yourself.

26. Every once in a while, do someone a favor, so that they can do one for you.

27. Every once in a while ask someone to do you a favor, so that they can ask you to do one for them sometime.

28. Always cultivate relationships with people who want the best for you.

29. Beware of being life's 'lifeguard', choose emotionally rescuing wisely.

30. Everything done well is important.

31. Write a letter to the editor.

32. Do your best to put your own house in order before you criticize the world. 

33. Dress like the person you see in your mind.

34. Do not bother children when they are having fun.

35. Never let a bully get away with it.

36. Be accurate in speech and presentation.

37. Always walk upright and with confidence.

38. Never avoid something scary when it stands in your way, but don’t do dangerous unnecessary things either.

39. Never approve of your children being less than kind to others.

40. Love of money is indeed the root of all evil, and fear is a very close second.

41. Notice that opportunity hides where people have 'dropped the ball'.

42. Read something written by someone great, who overcame defeat.

43. Talk to your cat.

44. Play with your dog.

45. The more you are connected to humankind, the more health and happiness you will enjoy.

46. Forgive.


The Good Life | Robert Waldinger | TEDxBeaconStreet

What makes us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you want to invest in "the good life," where should you put your time and energy? Robert Waldinger answers these questions with lessons learned from a 75-year-long study of adult life that started in the late 1930s and continues to this day.

Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and Zen priest. He directs the Harvard Study of Adult Development at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and teaches at Harvard Medical School.

To learn more about The Good Life and keep abreast of research findings, insights, and more, visit 


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